By Jim Miles
I have proudly chronicled Georgia’s impressive cryptids, a class of apparently living creatures suspected by some to exist but rejected by mainstream science. The study of such is called cryptozoology.
Georgia’s exotic menagerie includes reports of Bigfoot from every part of this vast state and several aquatic creatures, the best known of these being Altamaha-ha (or Altie), near the coast. We also have sightings of great prehistoric looking birds with enormous wingspans, exotic black panthers, and a unique hybrid that early settlers dubbed the Wog. Accounts of these varied creatures date back to Georgia’s Native Americans and the earliest European settlers. For additional information about these animals consult my Weird Georgia books and a number of my blogs posted on the Browns Guide website.
Today we introduce Mothman, famous in West Virginia lore (read John Keel’s classic paranormal book The Mothman Prophecies but pretend the movie of the same name with Richard Gere does not exist). Mothman plagued Port Pleasant, West Virginia, between November 1966 and December 1967. It was usually described as man-shaped, although very broad, seven feet in height, and gray in color. Its prominent features were great wings attached to its back and giant, glowing red eyes which some witnesses found hypnotic. Mothman flew fast enough to pace a car doing 100 mph. It was considered a harbinger or even the source of disaster, culminating in the collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River at Point Pleasant on December 15, 1967, which killed 46 people. The being has since been seen at other places.
On July 12, 2011 Lon Stricker posted on his Phantoms & Monsters website, “Witness: The North Georgia Mothman.” It thrilled my jaded little soul.
Georgia’s Only Mothman Appearance
The “Witness,” labeled EW, had contacted Lon in December with her account. It took him six months to persuade EW to allow her story to be told, with names and specific location omitted.
The incident occurred three years earlier when EW was 25 years old. At 11:30 p.m. she was driving on a rural road through the quiet night to a friend’s house, tailed by an aunt in a pickup truck. EW turned on the radio but it had apparently stopped working, although, “I started to hear weird scratching sounds coming through the speakers,” she wrote. “It sounded like a distant voice but I couldn’t understand what it was saying.
“Suddenly, something flew in front of the car and hit the windshield with enough size and force that it totally mangled the grill and hood. “
Shocked, EW slammed on the brakes and “heard what sounded like wings flapping on the roof, but then something rolled down the back window onto the trunk then eventually on to the road. I thought I killed whatever it was.”
EW’s aunt had witnessed the “whatever’ fall to the pavement. When she and her niece noticed the creature’s eyes “glaring bright red” and saw that the being “resembled a man with large bat-like wings,” auntie went back to the truck and returned with a shotgun which she pointed at the cryptid.
The women backed away as the creature started to revive and the aunt racked a round into her weapon.
“It slowly stood up on two large raptor-like claws,” EW continued, “turned and stared directly at us with those terrible bright red eyes…It slowly levitated off the ground with wings spread until it was about 10 foot up then instantly, it let out a deafening screech as it just disappeared with a loud ‘swoosh.’”
EW and her aunt had a good look at the creature and put together a detailed description.
“This thing had the body of a well-built man. It had no feathers but charcoal gray skin like that of a bat with some hair on the shoulders and around the eyes and legs. When it spread its wings, it had the span of 12 foot or more. I estimate it was about 8 foot tall. It had no head, however, just the eyes embedded on the shoulders that had brows. I didn’t notice a mouth or nose.”
Rattled, EW spent the night with her friend. Morning light revealed “a huge crack in the windshield and the grill was mangled beyond repair. The hood also had a deep 25 inch dent.”
Walking back toward the house EW noticed a shape in the grass. It was the friend’s golden retriever, “lying dead from massive lacerations up and down its back. I just knew that thing did it.” Retaliation, one suspects for the hit and fly incident.
Three years later, “I constantly dream of this creature,” EW wrote.
Lon Stricker spoke with the woman and declared, “I have no doubt she witnessed a winged humanoid and most likely a Mothman.” Hopefully its appearance was not a harbinger for tragedy in Georgia.
Jim Miles is the author of two Weird Georgia books, seven books about Georgia ghosts and eight books about the Civil War. To see all of his books go to the Jim Miles Author Page on Amazon. Order autographed books or contact Jim directly at firstname.lastname@example.org